Alternatives to Layoffs: One Truth and Three Lies that keep organizations from trying
Source: http://authenticorganizations.com December 21, 2008
After weeks of reports of one organization’s layoffs after another (leaving me to wonder who in still has a secure job) comes a brighter bit of news – some organizations are trying to find alternatives to layoffs to manage the downturn in their economic prospects, according to The New York Times 21/12/2008 and The Wall Street Journal .
Says the Wall Street Journal
Despite a flurry of headlines announcing layoffs from high-profile firms, a recent study suggests that more companies are likely to cut incentives and bonuses than to let workers go, as they focus on retaining the right employees and avoiding long-term disruptions.
That’s good news! Yet it still begs the question–
Why aren’t more organizations trying alternatives to layoffs?
For all of their ubiquity as the cost-cutting strategy of first resort , laying off employees (aka cutting jobs, downsizing) sounds easy to execute. In reality, layoffs are difficult to execute. And, the organizational reengineering and reorganization necessary to return an organization to top working form is even harder. Even the CEOs who execute these layoffs will tell you, as Tony Hsieh at Zappos did, that cutting headcount is hard to do. Worse, layoffs are more broadly damaging to organizations — to costs, relationships , reputation– than is even considered in the layoff decision.
It’s a wonder then, especially with this empirical evidence that layoffs don’t work all that well, why don’t more organizations try alternatives to layoffs ?
Three lies and one truth about organizations help to explain why layoffs occur instead of alternatives:
(1) Lemmings really do believe.
(2) “Workers are Widgets”.
(3) Real Men Wield Axes. And,
(4) I’m the Lumberjack so I’m Okay.